Council approves paving bond

Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, July 7, 2010

City officials approved entering into a ten year loan with FTN Financial Capital Markets to borrow a $7.7 million bond which will be used to repave the city’s streets.

FTN turned in the lowest interest rate out of five bids. FTN’s interest rate was about 2.72 percent, while Hancock Bank turned in the highest rate, 3.6 percent.

After the loan is paid off the city will end up paying about $1.22 million in interest. Combined with the principal of $7.7 million the city will pay about $8.92 million for the city wide paving project.

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Before the paving project begins the city plans to identify the water, storm drain and sewage problems along roads to be paved. While the city will be responsible to fix the water and storm water problems, the Pearl River County Utility Authority will be responsible for sewage problems. However Brooks Wallace with Dungan Engineering did not seem confident the Utility Authority has the funds to conduct such repairs.

Paving is expected to begin by September or October.

In a separate matter a retired Picayune Police Officer was finally honored for an on-duty injury he suffered in 1970. Chief Jim Luke presented former police officer George Gutter with a plaque recognizing him for being shot in the line of duty. Luke said Gutter was one of the first black police officers in Picayune. Luke described Gutter as an officer who did his job.

“He was tough but fair,” Luke said.

On Dec. 6, 1970 while was on-duty Gutter he was ambushed by an assailant holding a rifle while he was leaving a commercial business. Gutter was shot in the shoulder, but survived. Tuesday night he was recognized for his service in law enforcement and information about his service will be added to the Picayune Police Department’s Historic Chronicles.

Katrina Cottages may now receive a description under an amended ordinance. City Attorney Nathan Farmer said the proposed amendment could define the homes as mobile homes, and as such must be placed in areas zoned as M-1 or R-4. However such homes must be built to meet modular home specifications.

City Operations Manager Diane Miller estimates there are about 15 of the homes in the city limits. She said she recently got a number of calls from people asking if they bought the homes in an auction if they could be moved into the city limits, she said she told them no.

Farmer presented the amendment to the council for their consideration, and council member Wayne Gouguet suggested tabling the matter until the council could have more time to review the matter. The rest of the council approved tabling the matter until the next meeting in the month.

Stone Treated Materials, the wood treating business accused of operating without the proper permits, can no longer operate in the city. In 2007 the business was issued cease and desist orders by Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for failing to correct nine rules and regulation violations. Tuesday the council successfully changed the zoning of the plat of land the business was using from Industrial to Open Space, thereby ensuring no industrial business can ever operate there again.

Pennies for the Park donations will be handled under a bank account in the city’s name. Diane Miller said the move will help the effort seek out grants, as opposed to Picayune Main Street handling the account. She said since the park is on city property the account being in the city’s name will give the effort a better chance at acquiring grants. Any expenses from the account will be listed on the city’s docket, which is approved by the city council at each meeting.

The Picayune Police Department was approved by the council to apply for about $50,000 in grant funds from a COPS Technology Grant. The grant requires no match from the city and will enable the department to upgrade patrol car cameras to a digital format and allow the department to add an automated firearms training system. The automated firearms training system will reduce the amount of time officers need to spend on the firing range, Luke said.

The council went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter, compromise of a disputed claim and possible litigation. Decisions on those matters were not available by press time Tuesday.

In other business the council;

— Approved the PMHS NJROTC to hold a can shake at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Miss. 43 N. and at East Canal and  U.S. 11 on Aug. 7 from 8 a.m. to noon. Funds raised will allow the NJROTC to attend drill competitions.

— Approved the Senior Center to host a Picayune Piney Woods Run on Oct. 30, from 7:30 to 11 a.m.

— Approved the American Cancer Society to use Jack Read Park for a Fun Run on July 31, from 7 to  11 a.m. and Friendship Park the same day from noon to 9 p.m. for a Fun Day.

The next council meeting will be held July 20 at 5 p.m.